Police: 5-month-old child dies in Danforth; fire at family’s home believed to be unrelated

Authorities blocked off the road to a mobile home in Danforth while state fire marshal investigators probed the scene Friday morning. The mobile home is partly visible in the background, above the red pickup truck.
Tim Cox | BDN
Authorities blocked off the road to a mobile home in Danforth while state fire marshal investigators probed the scene Friday morning. The mobile home is partly visible in the background, above the red pickup truck.
Posted March 21, 2014, at 9:20 a.m.
Last modified March 21, 2014, at 3:57 p.m.
A mobile home that was heavily damaged by fire in Danforth on Friday morning.
Tim Cox | BDN
A mobile home that was heavily damaged by fire in Danforth on Friday morning.
A state fire marshal investigator takes photographs of a mobile home that was heavily damaged by fire in Danforth on Friday morning.
Tim Cox | BDN
A state fire marshal investigator takes photographs of a mobile home that was heavily damaged by fire in Danforth on Friday morning.

DANFORTH, Maine — Investigations are underway into the death of a 5-month-old boy and a fire Friday morning at the Weatherbee Street home where the child lived.

No charges had been filed as of 2 p.m. Friday, and investigators said they were focused on determining the cause of the child’s death and origin of the fire.

State police spokesman Stephen McCausland said in a news release the child has been identified as Mach-Danyel Richardson, and the parents are Alan Richardson and Tabitha Osnoe.

A woman called 911 at about 7:30 a.m. Friday to report she had found her child dead. Deputies were dispatched to the scene along with state police.

Emergency dispatchers received a second call at about 8:31 a.m., reporting the woman’s mobile home was on fire, according to Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith.

The baby was pronounced dead at a Danforth medical facility after the boy’s parents brought the child there, and the fire at the family’s mobile home was discovered a short time later. A neighbor saw smoke and asked another neighbor to call authorities about the fire.

A cause of death has not been determined, but the baby’s death and the fire aren’t believe to be connected, according to state police.

“At this time there is no indication that the fire has anything to do” with the death of the infant, said state police Sgt. Darrin Crane, who briefed reporters at the Danforth Fire Station, which is in sight of the mobile home. He said he did not know whether the infant had a history of illness.

An autopsy on the child has been scheduled for Saturday at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta, and state police will investigate the child’s death further, which is standard protocol for deaths of children under age 3.

Investigators of the state fire marshal’s office are probing the blaze, but state police will assist as needed, said Crane.

Sgt. Tim York of the state fire marshal’s office, who also fielded questions from reporters, said the trailer was heavily damaged in the fire. He said the origin and cause of the fire were under investigation.

The couple lived in the mobile home with the infant and a 4-year-old. Family members have cooperated with investigators, Crane said.

Neighbors who were questioned knew little about the couple, only reporting that they had lived there about a year.

Teena Clifford, who said she can see the mobile home from her back door, said she called 911 to report the fire.

Another neighbor, Margaret Gillis, said she noticed the mobile home was on fire as she drove to her home. She stopped at the Clifford home and asked the residents to call authorities.

“I saw the smoke billowing,” said Gillis.

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